“It is so kind and generous for you to share these pictures with the parents.”
I really don’t think I’m any different than most people in a lot of ways. In the end, it is all about the kids for me. And I truly believe that supporting the parents, even when it looks unlikely they will be able to have their children returned, even if they’ve already lost parental rights, is the right thing to do.
As readers may remember, I got three children about six weeks ago. Professor is three. Doc is two, and Little Lamb is four months. There is a bunch of weirdness with this case. Mostly, when everyone is looking long term, based on what has been seen so far (and this isn’t the family’s first case), it looks as if the parents aren’t able to function well enough and what they can do, they can’t continue long term. Obviously, that isn’t the best situation for the children. It isn’t that the parents don’t care or are unwilling to do right; they simply seem incapable. It is expected that the children will need a forever home and people involved are making sure the children are in a pre-adoptive home so they won’t need another move down the line (hopefully).
It is a really weird feeling sometimes when we are helping and supporting the family while hoping these may be our forever children, finishing out our family. if they can do this, it would be the BEST thing for the children. Sure, we may be able to give the children more in terms of education and opportunity and a nice home. And we’d adore them. But children really do better with biological family IF at all possible. And yet, if they simply are not capable of parenting, we would love to be best for them!
So by looking at photos with the kids and providing photos/updates for the parents, we are encouraging their bond. By sharing photos, they see the children happy in a variety of activities. The current photo album includes various dressed up shots, from a haircut (nails done too!), from at the park, rough-housing with my oldest son, from the sport I put them in, before/after surgery one had, etc. On top of hopefully giving the parents peace about how their children are doing, it establishes a relationship between the parents and us. We aren’t adversaries, but part of a team to make sure the right situation happens for the children. And lastly, should they not be able to parent full-time, we have opened the door for an ongoing relationship as long as it is safe and healthy to do so. We have shown that we are respectful of their relationship with the children. They know the children are happy and healthy and safe with us. They see that we are willing to give updates and photos (at least).
Again, it is just a weird situation. I have found myself defending parents, pointing out strengths, hoping the best for them. I have found myself extremely empathetic of what they have been through and are going through. And yet, sometimes I get so angry at what they’ve done to their children, what their children are going through now (confusion, for example), etc. And I doubt whether certain issues are things people can overcome.
Tug-o-war. But regardless of who is “winning” moment to moment, I am rooting for the children.
In the end, my hope is that the children gain permanency. I want them to get to where they will be FOREVER. I want them to feel safe, secure, confident. I want them to be happy and healthy.